Monica Doreen Corea, wife of the late Radio Ceylon/SLBC and BBC broadcaster, Vernon Corea, passed away peacefully in New Malden, Surrey, in the United Kingdom, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Monica passed away on Monday, November 13, aged 94.
She was a very humble woman who had a heart of kindness and compassion. Monica’s late husband was the legendary, pioneering Radio Ceylon and BBC broadcaster, Vernon Corea.
We arise by lifting others and Monica stood by her husband and together they lifted many, from all walks of life, including Clarence Wijewardena, Annesley Malewana who visited their home at Maha Nuge Gardens in the early 1960s, future Radio Ceylon/SLBC broadcasters including her husband’s cousin Dr. Vijaya Corea. Many years later Vijaya, together with his late wife Ranjini, stayed in their home in Wimbledon Village during a visit to the UK in 1984. Monica, a committed Christian helped many people, cooking meals and even opening the family home to those who needed a place to stay.
Together with her husband Vernon, Monica co-wrote the EMCEE column (MC – her initials), in the Ceylon Daily News, throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Many up- -and-coming Sri Lankan musicians were featured in the EMCEE column and quite a number went on to become major music stars – not only in Sri Lanka but also in other parts of the world.
On hearing of her demise, Sri Lankan mega music star Annesley Malewana wrote: “She was a great Lady, loved by all.” Annesley had met her in the 1990s in London and much earlier in the 1960s when Sri Sangabo Corea sent Clarence, Annesley and this new exciting young group called “The Moonstones” all the way from Ratnapura to be mentored by his cousin Vernon, at Maha Nuge Gardens in Kollupitiya.
In the 1960s, her melodic voice was heard over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon when she sang in radio jingles for various products. She even sang in a radio advertisement for a new Japanese hair growth product to Sri Lanka called Kamino Moto. These radio advertisements took Sri Lanka by storm. Monica and Vernon entertained several Bishops of Colombo and Kurunagala in their home in Wimbledon village in London, including Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe, the late uncle of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Monica Corea was born in Badulla in Sri Lanka. Her parents were Simon and Jane de Silva. She attended Uva College, Badulla as a student, later serving several years as a much loved teacher – she taught English and Music. Her father, Simon was Vice-Principal of Uva College, Badulla. She joined the teaching staff nearly a decade after his death.
She met her future husband Vernon when he joined the staff of Uva College. They were married at Monica’s Church – St. Mark’s Church, Badulla. Their first born Harishchandra Corea died and is buried at S.t Mark’s Church. Monica was Head Chorister and led the Sunday school at the church.
When the family moved to the United Kingdom in the 1970s, Vernon and Monica Corea presented and produced Christian radio programs for Radio Worldwide in London. Before her retirement Monica was caretaker of an Anglican Church in Wimbledon Village. She was given the keys to the Church and now her family believes she has been blessed with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. She was a good and faithful servant to God and had a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ.
Monica leaves her three children, Ivan, Vernon Jr, Ouida and their families in the United Kingdom. She was the sister-in-law of former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States and Daily News/Observer Editor Ernest Corea and Indra Corea. She was the daughter-in-law of Reverend Canon Ivan Corea and Ouida Corea.